Currently reading Battle Cry of Freedom by McPherson. I'm 180 pgs in on the 596 pg book. Pretty interesting read. He goes indepth into the pre-war politics and issues leading to the disunion. Compares the industrial capacity, telegraph, and resources of the two sections. Has anybody else read it? One reviewer called it slanted north. I readily admit that I have a biased northern view but I haven't noticed anything insulting to southerners in the book. I had relatives on the southern side too, so I do respect southern feelings. Anyway just curious if anyone else read it and what they thought of it.
Yes, I've read it. I think the few people who dislike it are those who take issue with his argument that the war came about because of slavery. Great book by one of the few great historians of the Civil War. I believe it even won a Pulitzer. If you like McPherson, I would highly recommend his book, "For Cause and Comrades: Why Soldiers Fought in the Civil War." I hope you will continue to enjoy Battle Cry!
As a physical anthropology undergrad almost half a century ago, I argued against what the sociology folks called the: "Blank Slate Theory." It was their view that the environment that one grew up in determined one's personality.
My argument was that the primary factor that was involved was one's genetic makeup, which was then influenced by one's environment. The two combined to develop one's personality.
In my case, my point of view when it comes to the Civil War was not determined by the environment that I grew up in, since most people who grew up where I did have a view of the Civil War that is different from mine.
I should have said 'the study of history' rather than merely 'history'.
My poor point is that historians don't come to conclusions lightly. McPherson, Foner, et al, have forgotten more history than I'll ever know. They know how to find it, weigh it and incorporate it into their world view.
the tendency for me, and many, is to discard history that does not conform with our world view rather it changing our world view...
I feel that McPherson by analyzing the political and financial circustances that led to the ACW makes a powerfull argument that it was about slavery and allowing it into the new territories. As with most disagreements it is seldom one isolated factor that brings on the argument.
The book is very good at getting to the core of our political problems in the 1840's and 50's. Slavery was the wedge that drove the two sections apart. It fueled the rise to power of the Republican party in 1856 & 58 elections. That rise was due to frustration in the North over Southern control over the Supreme Court and Congress. Plus the insistance in the south of spreading slavery into the western territories. War was inevitable.